In our last series, we talked about loving our neighbours, and stepped through six shifts. From stranger to neighbour to acquaintance to partner to friend to becoming “like family”.
It’s possible to become like family with a focused group of people, where you practice loving your neighbours within that small group, and see that spill over to others outside.
This series looks specifically at this stage of being “like family” with other followers of Jesus. It’s called the church, believe it or not. Important that explore what church means as we prepare to launch a new church in Ajax in 2014.
You probably have all sorts of preconceived notions of what that word means. Attached you’ll find a video of some people on the street who were asked about what they think of when they hear “church”.
You can find the video here:
Question: When you hear the word “church” what do you immediately see, or think? Make a list, there may be several. What experiences have informed you?
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Yesterday, I introduced the idea of grace with a diagram. We will build on that now, so if you missed it, go back and watch Tuesday’s content.
Grace is the most powerful force in the world, it is what makes Christian faith stand out like a jewel---the world craves it---people are so hungry for grace, often desperate for grace---and grace is there for all people.
Imagine grace in Syria, imagine grace in Iraq, imagine grace in a time of marriage breakdown, in your workplace. Just imagine grace everywhere…grace says there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, there is nothing I can do to make God love me less…how would that change the way people act in our world?
Imagine grace in your life…a fresh start, forgiveness, a relationship with God, and hope for the future. A certain way of life, of obedience to God’s way of living is an important part of this, but as outcome, the thanksgiving for God’s love, rather than a way of earning it in the first place.
We’re invited to practice living in God’s kingdom now. This affects many areas of our lives. It reorders our priorities, views of success, sex and marriage, money and possessions, and the poor. That is a big, loaded list.
From the outside, although it looks strange and different, those who practice living God’s kingdom here and now in these ways find that it’s exactly what they were created for – that they’re living according to the script written for their lives and their world, and it’s a natural fit like none other, even though it’s new and different.
We all want to be free, and so sometimes when we hear about laws, living a certain way, we think someone is trying to control or take away our freedom. But imagine a train, that gets bored running up and down its tracks, and looks at countryside, longing to be “free” of the rails. If it does hop the rails, it will meet with disaster and destruction, not happiness and freedom. A train is not designed for fields, but designed for tracks. A train is never more free than doing what it was designed to do...run on tracks.
It’s the same with humans, we’re designed by creator with a specific way of life. For best results, follow maker’s instructions.”
Question: Have you ever gone off the rails in life, thinking you were enjoying your freedom? What helped you get back on track?
Reminder: Last week we talked about worship, and asked you to complete our online survey about worship here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8TS7K93
Reminder: Earlier in this series, we saw the importance of reading the Bible together in sync, so our new daily bible readings start today in our mobile app and web site.
This series looks at becoming “like family” with others learning to follow Jesus. We're exploring how the church is not a building, institution or event, but a community of people. It's important that explore what church means as we prepare to launch a new church in Ajax in 2014.